Animal health challenges and veterinary aspects of organic livestock farming identified through a 3 year EU network project
Vaarst, M., Padel, S., Younie, D., Hovi, M., Sundrum, A. and Rymer, C. (2008) Animal health challenges and veterinary aspects of organic livestock farming identified through a 3 year EU network project. Open Veterinary Science Journal, 2. pp. 111-116. ISSN 1874-3188
From 2003-2006, an EU network project ‘Sustaining Animal Health and Food Safety in Organic Farming' (SAFO), was carried out with 26 partners from 20 EU-countries and 4 related partners from 4 candidate or new member states. The focus was the integration of animal health and welfare issues in organic farming with food safety aspects. Four very consistent conclusions became apparent: 1) The climatic, physical and socio-economic conditions vary considerably throughout Europe, leading to different livestock farming systems. This limits the possibility for technology transfer between regions, and creates several challenges for a harmonised regulation, 2) Implementing organic standards at farm level does not always ensure that animal health and welfare reach the high ideals of the organic principles, 3) To overcome these deficiencies, organic farmers and farmer organisations need to take ownership of organic values and, 4) In all participating countries, a strong need for training of farmers and in particular veterinarians in animal health promotion and organic principles was identified. The article presents a summary of papers presented at the five SAFO workshops.